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Mkushi area

Mkushi area

In Central Province, the thing part of Zambia, the area around Old Mkushi between the Congo boarder in the North and the escarpment towards the Luangwa and Lunsemfwa rivers in the East and South. Mkushi is a fertile farming area supplying a large portion of Zambias beef and corn production. In the Southern part of Mkushi, around the town of Old Mkushi, some very large pegmatites such as the famous Jagoda mine were mined in the past. Countless artisanal mines are scattered across the vast area. We have visited three of them in 2010:

Chibula mine: The Chibula mine has produced some average quality aquamarine, but an interesting find was made just before our visit. Cr-bearing tourmaline displaying a nice Usambara effect were found in a solid quartz vein. The Usambara effect is a colour change from green to red depending on the thickness of the piece using transmitting incandescent light. Unfortunately, the tourmaline was only available in small pieces, as it was hard to extract from the quartz.

Eliah's mine: A large pegmatite crops out in the forest over several hundred meters.

Kamune mine: Near the escarpment towards the Luangwa valley just next to the road lies the Kamune mine. Green and blue-green tourmaline of great clarity is found in the laterite covering a pegmatite.

 

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Mkushi area; September 2010


Mkushi area: Rocky hills stand high over the plateau
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 

 
Mkushi area: Sable antelope
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 

 
Mkushi area: Aloe and Euphorbia
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 

 
Mkushi area: Large farming area
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 

 
Mkushi area: Mkushi river
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Mkushi area: Crossing the Mkushi river
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Mkushi area: Miombo woodland
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

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Chibula mine, September 2010


Chibula mine: The mine dumps are hardly visible.
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Chibula mine: Miners camp
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Chibula mine: Working at the transition between Laterite and unweathered pegmatite.
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Chibula mine: Breaking massive quartz which contains tourmaline with Usambara-effect.
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Chibula mine: Chrome-bearing tourmaline with Usambara-effect.
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

Link: Article about faceting stones with Usambara effect by Asbjørn Halvorsen at IGS (gemsociety.org)

 


Chibula mine: Camping in the bush
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Chibula mine: Kapenta (dried fish) for dinner
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

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Eliah's mine, September 2010


Eliah's mine: Little village near the pegmatite
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Eliah's mine: The outcropping pegmatite forms little ridges in the forest.
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 

 
Eliah's mine: The pegmatite is covered by about 4m of Laterite.
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Eliah's mine: Opening a new trench
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

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Kamune mine, September 2010


Kamune mine: located near the escarpment towards the Luangwa valley

Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: Green and blue-green tourmaline is found in a weathered pegmatite
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: The laterite layer is more than 10mm thick
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: Scary tunnels
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: Hard work in the mine
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: Green and blue-green tourmaline from Kamune mine
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: Miners camp
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

 


Kamune mine: Happy miners
Photo: L. Klemm, published with the kind permission of Gübelin Gem Lab Ltd.

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